Preview Released of the 2017 NMC Horizon Report

I am continuously surprised how far behind too many academics are with respect to digital learning environments, strategies, innovations, and influence on curriculum design, development, deployment toward the emergence of High Performance Learning Environments. This is not by any means everyone but the community is slow compared to the pace of change and the rapidity with which a new global digital learning environment is taking shape. The emerging global digital environment and learning resources, are changing all of the rules, driving new metrics, pushing innovation and pulling disciplines and curricula. It was with great anticipation we await the release of the 2017 NMC Horizon Report outlining 18 Trends, Challenges and Developments shaping Higher Education today. The preview is available now, put it on you radar and share it with your colleagues.

This edition is a collaboration between the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). Learn more at and

While you are waiting for the 2017 full report to be released read the 2016 Report

nmc-horizion-report-2016The NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition is a collaborative effort between the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). This 13th edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology are placed directly in the context of their likely impact on the core missions of universities and colleges, and detailed in succinct, non-technical, and unbiased presentations. Each has been tied to essential questions of relevance, policy, leadership, and practice. The three key sections of this report constitute a reference and straightforward technology-planning guide for educators, higher education leaders, administrators, policymakers, and technologists. It is our hope that this research will help to inform the choices that institutions are making about technology to improve, support, or extend teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education across the globe. All of the topics were selected by an expert panel that represented a range of backgrounds and perspectives.”

About NMC

“The NMC was founded October 17, 1993 by a group of hardware manufacturers, software developers, and publishers who realized that the ultimate success of their multimedia-capable products depended upon their widespread acceptance by the higher education community in a way that had never been achieved before.”

About the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI)

“ELI is a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to the advancement of learning through the innovative application of technology.”

American Higher Education in Crisis?: What Everyone Needs to Know®


Goldie Blumenstyk’s new book, American Higher Education in Crisis?, should be required reading for anyone interested in the future of higher education — faculty, trustees, executives, and government officials, as well as analysts and pundits. , President, Georgia Regents University


“American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know,” deconstructs the journey into the future for higher education by posing the key questions facing higher education, policy makers, leaders, and academics. The books narrative, well worth the read, is structured into four narrative parts.

  • Part One: Students, focuses 14 questions from the learner. A provocative read, providing a sound introduction to some key issues. The scope of the book does not address many questions surrounding learning. What is learned, how it is learned, and what role does the learning experience play in the future of America and global communities. These questions, when viewed in light of the emerging global digital learning ecosystem, make the answer to the ‘crisis question’ a more profound yes.
  • Part Two; Costs, Spending, and Debt posits 32 questions regarding finance and economics. The questions focus on subjects common to the mainstream news and topics of interest in the existing fiscal conundrum. They do much to demystify and clarify the issues. The approach is helpful. A more analytical approach would be required to address the larger question of what is the strategic economic value of higher education as a foundation for building a new model for financing the enterprise. When deeper analytical details are considered, the portrait of the crisis grows more profound  and more complex as all 50 states and the nations around the world grapple with fiscal sustainability.
  • Part Three; Who’s in charge? Leadership pressures-from within and without is framed by 15 questions on selected topics. They provide a succinct populous view of some of the key issues and public dialogues and frame the most common fairly well. These may serve to open a Pandora’s Box of leadership challenges facing academe.
  • Part Four: What’s ahead is framed by 12 fairly short-termed questions. Acknowledging disruption as a major force confronting American Higher Education the author opens the door to deeper discussions concerning the future of higher education institutions

The real quest is to devise a sustainable learning system. Higher education globally is experiencing a Paradigm Shift to an emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem that is paving the pathways to the Learning Age. As the dawn of the Learning Age sheds new light on the potential of a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem, education can be expected to pass through at least three stages of change.

  • Disruptive change, characterized by two paradigms colliding abruptly. Fear, anger, disbelief, and resistance are natural reactions during this period of adjustment. (see Digital Darwinism)
  • Adaptive change, characterized by educators making use of the functionality of the digital environments but resisting substantive change to the system that controls and manages it.
  • Optimized change constructs a new system around the new paradigm and the adaptive learning culture that it nurtures. New realities shape the need for validated credentials and new features and functions evolve within the emerging digitized learning environment.

The Author’s deep experience covering higher education is evident in this work. While the issues Higher Education faces go beyond the acknowledged scope of this book, the challenges summarized in it, are a great starting place. It is a must read for anyone believing they have a right to an opinion on American Higher Education.


Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014

Since 2007,  Jane Hart has conducted a survey of the use of web based learning tools. She has published her results in a top 100 list annually. The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014  – the results of the 8th Annual Learning Tools Survey –  has been compiled from the votes of 1,038 learning professionals from 61 countries worldwide and was published on 22 September 2014

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014

We developed the graphic to bring Jane’s work to life and provide an enhanced visual to help more fully understand the bigger picture. Jane’s work in workplace and e-learning underpins important aspects of the emergence of the Global Digital Learning Ecosystem. The emerging ecosystem brings together all aspect of learning into one learner integrated view. The implications for higher education are profound.



Faculty Increasing Use of Learner-Centered Education Practices

Faculty have steadily increased their use of Learner-Centered Pedagogies according to a comparison of faculty reported teaching and learning methods deployed in their classrooms. “The Undergraduate Teaching Faculty: The 2013-2014 HERI Faculty Survey,” a triennial national survey of college and university faculty has been conducted since 1989 by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Learner-Centered Pedagogy

The concept of Learner-Centered pedagogy has deep historic roots in the work of Dewey, Piaget, Rogers’ Gardner and Bloom (and many others) as well as the innovative models of Maria Montessori and the Reggio Emilia approach. Faculty in higher education have begun to adopt and adapt Learner-Centered pedagogies in such efforts as the flipped classroom and a host of in class and in course methods. The HERI Faculty Survey has been tracking progress in the use of these pedagogies since 1989-1990.

Changes in Faculty Teaching Practices, 1989 to 2014

Changes in Faculty Teaching Practices, 1989 to 2014


Class Discussions

In 1989-90 69.6% of faculty reported using class discussions in “all” or “most” of their courses increasing to 88.2% in 2008 and leveling off at just over 82% in 2011 and 2014.

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is the use of small groups through which students work together to accomplish shared goals and to maximize their own and others’ potential.” – Johnson, Johnson and Holubec (ASCD 1994)

In 1989-90 20.6% of faculty reported using cooperative learning strategies increasing to a peak of 73.2% in 2008-2009 and settling to 60.7% in 2013–2014.

Group Projects

The use of group projects was reported by 15.7% in 1989-1990 growing to just under half (45.5%) in 2013-2014.

Student-Selected Topics

Incorporating the use of student-selected topics within a course has increased 8.5% in 1989–1990 to 26.3% in 2013–2014

Student Evaluations of each others work

The use student evaluations of each other’s work in “all” or “most” of their courses has nearly tripled from 10% in 1989–1990 to 28% in 2013–2014.

Table 1: Faculty Reported Teaching and Learning Methods 1990 to 2014

Comparing the reported use of specific pedagogies over a period of fifteen years.

Method 1990 1993 1996 1999 2002 2005 2008 2011 2014
Class discussions 69.6 69.8 67.7 68.4 72.3 81.8 82.2 82.2 82.8
Community service as optional part of course 0.0 0.0 2.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Community service as part of coursework 0.0 0.0 2.5 0.0 5.1 7.1 8.1 5.9 8.9
Competency-based grading 52.4 55.7 48.4 48.4 49.3 0.0 53.0 47.6 0.0
Computer or machine-aided instruction 13.2 16.0 18.5 21.5 29.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Cooperative learning (small groups) 26.0 32.5 35.0 37.1 41.3 47.8 59.1 56.7 60.7
Electronic quizzes with immediate feedback in class 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 6.8 7.4 15.2
Essay exams 40.6 41.7 40.1 40.9 42.2 57.6 44.3 41.3 0.0
Experiential learning/Field studies 18.8 19.8 19.3 19.3 22.3 0.0 30.0 25.6 31.0
Extensive lecturing 55.7 53.6 48.5 47.2 46.9 55.2 46.4 45.0 50.6
Grading on a curve 22.9 18.2 18.5 17.5 16.8 19.1 16.8 17.3 21.2
Graduate Teaching
8.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Group projects 15.7 20.9 22.8 23.4 26.8 33.3 35.8 32.0 45.5
Independent Projects 34.1 37.1 33.1 33.1 35.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
“Learn before lecture” through multimedia tools (e.g., flipping the classroom) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 21.8
Multiple drafts of written work 12.4 14.1 15.5 16.8 18.5 0.0 24.9 23.9 34.2
Multiple-choice exams 33.7 35.4 30.8 30.8 32.5 32.3 33.1 29.3 0.0
Multiple-choice quizzes 16.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
On-line instruction 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 13.9 0.0 0.0 0.0
Performance/Demonstrations 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 34.8
Quizzes 0.0 40.9 36.1 36.7 38.7 0.0 39.8 38.9 0.0
Readings on racial and ethnic issues 11.1 15.2 15.6 16.7 18.6 19.9 23.9 0.0 26.1
Readings on women and gender issues 10.6 14.2 15.0 15.9 17.4 18.2 21.1 0.0 22.3
Recitals/Demonstrations 0.0 20.1 19.2 18.0 18.4 21.4 21.9 19.0 0.0
Reflective writing/journaling 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 18.1 21.7 17.6 25.2
Rubric-based assessment 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 55.9
Short-answer exams 34.0 36.7 32.9 33.8 36.4 36.9 45.5 44.9 0.0
Short-answer quizzes 24.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Starting class with a question that engages students 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 49.5
Student evaluations of each other’s work 10.0 12.0 12.9 13.1 14.6 19.4 23.5 21.0 28.0
Student evaluations of teaching 83.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Student presentations 25.5 29.8 30.9 32.7 36.0 44.7 46.7 43.8 52.4
Student-developed activities (assignments, exams, etc) 15.3 17.1 13.1 13.3 14.4 0.0 26.7 0.0 0.0
Student-selected topics for course content 8.5 9.8 8.0 8.6 10.2 15.0 17.0 19.8 26.3
Supplemental instruction that is outside of class and office hours 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 36.1
Teaching assistants 0.0 7.9 9.5 9.4 9.2 10.1 11.8 12.7 0.0
Techniques to create an inclusive classroom environment for diverse students 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 56.5
Term/research papers 31.9 32.1 32.8 34.7 36.7 34.7 44.3 43.3 0.0
Undergraduate Teaching Assistants 2.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Using real-life problems 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 55.7 55.4 69.8
Using student inquiry to drive learning 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 47.1 45.8 56.4
Weekly essay assignments 14.2 17.6 15.9 17.9 19.0 0.0 21.7 20.2 0.0

While the advances in the use of learner-centered pedagogies maybe laudable, faculty efforts tell only part of the story of the transformation of the learning ecosystem. While faculty are engineering and re-engineering their curricula, courses, teaching and classroom instructional methods, students are busy optimizing their access to the emerging global digital learning ecosystem. These are not competing efforts but transformations on parallel development tracks and trajectories. They are neither integrated with each other nor cohesive in a unifying purposeful design but rather opportunistic initiatives.

A Parallel Universe: Technology Enabled, Global Digital Learning Ecosystem

So where are the learners in their quest to nurture and support their own learning. Students tend not to classify technology as a learning approach but rather the use of digital tools to assist in their quest to master their course material. For students, the technology is largely taken for granted and not seen as either innovative nor at the expense of other methods and tools. Increasingly, being Learner-Centered means integrating the use of technology and the realities of the emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem into the curriculum and learner experiences. For a thorough understanding of the current technology status examine the Global Information Technology Report 2014.

EDUCAUSE 2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies, October 2014

In 2014, ECAR collaborated with 151 institutions to collect responses from 17,451 faculty respondents across 13 countries about their technology experiences. ECAR also collaborated with 213 institutions to collect responses from 75,306 undergraduate students about their technology experiences. The research found:

  • Technology is embedded into students’ lives, and students are generally inclined to use and to have favorable attitudes toward technology. However, technology has only a moderate influence on students’ active involvement in particular courses or as a connector with other students and faculty.
  • Students’ academic use of technology is widespread but not deep. They are particularly interested in expanding the use of a few specific technologies.
  • Many students use mobile devices for academic purposes. Their in-class use is more likely when instructors encourage such use; however, both faculty and students are concerned about their potential for distraction.
  • More students than ever have experienced a digital learning environment. The majority say they learn best with a blend of online and face-to-face work.
  • Most students support institutional use of their data to advise them on academic progress in courses and programs. Many of the analytic functions students seek already exist in contemporary LMSs

Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning, September 2014

The Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) founded in 2008 to address issues of educational opportunity, access, equity, and diversity in the United States and internationally published a report titled Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning. It concluded:

  • Technology access policies should aim for one-to-one computer access.
  • Technology access policies should ensure that speedy internet connections are available to prevent user issues when implementing digital learning.
  • At-risk students benefit most from technology that is designed to promote high levels of interactivity and engagement with data and information in multiple forms.
  • Curriculum and instructional plans should enable students to use technology to create content as well as to learn material.
  • Policymakers and educators should plan for blended learning environments, characterized by significant levels of teacher support and opportunities for interactions among students, as companions to technology use.

Campus Technology: Report: Digital Use Up Among College Students, May 2012

Way back on May 25, 2012,  Campus Technology , in a story written by Tim Sohn, reported on a survey, conducted that year, by CourseSmart and fielded by Wakefield Research regarding the use of technology and social media by college students. Five-hundred college students between the ages 18 to 23 participated in an online survey. The survey found:

  • 96 Percent had taken traditional courses that included online elements.
  • 79 Percent had handed in assignments online.
  • 71 Percent had taken Web-based tests and quizzes.
  • 40 Percent used digital technology at least every 10 minutes, and
  • 67 Percent said they use technology at least every hour.
  • 68 Percent said they saved two or more hours daily, and 14 percent said they saved at least five hours using technology in their learning process.
  • 51 Percent said they were more likely to complete reading assignments on time if they used digital devices instead of print.
  • 79 Percent searched for information on a mobile device immediately before an exam.
  • 78 Percent said they had received updates from professors via learning management systems or student portals.
  • 84 Percent said they had access to their class syllabi online.

In Closing

Learning is the point. Technology, as enabling and essential as it is, is not the point. Neither is ‘On-Line.’ Faculty, generally, are not Luddites, but rather careful explorers and experimenters searching for effective pedagogical practices. Technology innovations and their application by scholars, educators and innovators, to building a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem are enabling learners, to transform their educational experience. The industrial model of the 20th century, while an extraordinarily powerful system then, does not align with either the power of, nor the potential of, the new 21st century constantly and rapidly evolving Ecosystem. We cannot ‘fix’ this fundamental misalignment by enhancing the efficiency or effectiveness of existing models. The elements of a comprehensive and cohesive new academic model are emerging. Higher education leaders, scholars, and policy makers must come together to shape the educational systems of the future that optimize the Global Digital Learning Ecosystem and its impact on learning.

In our continuing effort to support our clients managing the transitions through turbulent times, MGDA is offering a full schedule of Transformational Strategies Institutes for 2015. The curricula are focused on the development of academic strategies to cope with the rapid transitions and fundamental transformations now underway.

These topics and sessions are also available as workshops:

Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology

The California School of Organizational Studies Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory, Skills, and Techniques

November 15, 2002/ The 31 chapters organized into 8 sections are a treasure for any one who serves in a consulting role. The text is written for psychologist but is of extraordinary value for consultants in all domains. Of broad interest are the chapters on “Assessing Candidates for Leadership Positions,” “Individual Level Variables,” “The Effectiveness of Executive Coaching,” “Integrating Individual Assessment, Position Requirements, Team-Based Competencies, and Organizational Vision,” “Successfully Implementing Teams,” “Proactive Ways to Improve Leadership Performance,” and two areas on Organizational Performance. Well worth both the price and the time to read it. – MGD

November 12, 2002/ The value of The California School of Organizational Studies Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology goes far beyond what the title might indicate. This is a must read for anyone who works in the realm of organizational transformation or who works in a consulting capacity. We have selected it as the November 2002 Featured Selection for Transforming Education Bookstore and highly recommend it. – MGD

Editorial Reviews


“Rodney Lowman has done it again! He has edited a book that is unique, comprehensive, and aimed squarely at the science and practice of psychology in organizations. This book shows a remarkable breadth of coverage: topics traditional and cutting edge, science and practice, issues within and across levels, by contributions with extensive and diverse experience in organizational consulting. There’s something here for anyone interested in a psychological approach to consulting in organizations.”
— Rosemary Hays-Thomas, professor of psychology, The University of West Florida

The Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology addresses a longtime need for a new comprehensive major work in consulting psychology. It is broad in scope and clearly integrates topics in consulting psychology that are at the core of the field and which reflect recent innovations in the application of consulting principles and techniques. The scope and depth of this book is not only timely but unique. I would expect this book to become an essential reference for all consulting psychologists.”
—Clyde A. Crego, California State University Long Beach and University of Southern California and former president, American Psychological Association Division of Consulting Psychology and Fellow, APA

“My one-word reaction: WOW! Aptly entitled a handbook, it could nevertheless well serve as a basic text in the field. It may have its greatest benefit to those who are transiting from more specialized work into organizational consulting, since it lays out a broad range of issues that one may encounter and ought to be prepared to deal with along with some practical advice on how to handle them.”
—Kenneth H. Bradt, consulting psychologist and past president, Society of Consulting Psychology, American Psychological Association

From the Back Cover

The Definitive Handbook for Organizational Consulting Psychology “This is the first book to provide an overview of the broad range of services that consulting psychologists provide to individuals, teams, and systems. In addition, it provides insight into specialty areas such as international consulting and the ethical issues confronted when doing this work. One of its major contributions is its emphasis on ways to assess the impact and effectiveness of various consulting interventions. It will be a useful tool for senior practitioners as well as to those who hope to enter the field.”
— Judith S. Blanton, senior consultant and director of professional affairs, RHR International

The Handbook of Consulting Psychology provides information that is both comprehensive and cutting edge. The content provides helpful insights for those beginning their career in the field as well as those who have been consulting for years.”
— Steve Gravenkemper, vice president, organizational consulting, Right Management Consultants

“This book would be an invaluable addition to the professional library of any psychologist or student of psychology who is involved with organizational consultation.The handbook is a most impressive and scientifically sound text. I cannot praise it highly enough.”
— Florence L. Denmark, Robert Scott Pace Distinguished Professor emerita, Psychology Department, Pace University

“Far from being yet another book in consulting psychology, The Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology marks the coming of age of consulting psychology as a field. The contributors systematically offer both breadth and depth to the actual workings of consulting psychology. The book is to be recommended not only as a ‘state-of-the-art’ document, but also as evidence of the fruition of the field. It is an historic marker of the distinctiveness of consulting psychology, a kind of ‘declaration of independence’ for the discipline. It deserves to be a classic.”
— Howard F. Stein, professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City

About Learning Styles

There is a running debate among educators concerning the validity of the conceptual framework of learning styles. Learning Styles emerged in the 1970’s as a theoretical explanation of the variability among individuals engaged in learning, but has been around since Aristotle. The journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) published a report (Psychological Science in the Public Interest December 2008 vol. 9 no. 3 105-119)  critical of aggregated clusters of students with common learning styles. Authors Hal Pashler of the University of California, San Diego,  Mark McDaniel of Washington University, Doug Rohrer from University of South Florida, and Robert Bjork from University of California, Los Angeles concluded

that at present, there is no adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning-styles assessments into general educational practice. Thus, limited education resources would better be devoted to adopting other educational practices that have a strong evidence base, of which there are an increasing number. However, given the lack of methodologically sound studies of learning styles, it would be an error to conclude that all possible versions of learning styles have been tested and found wanting; many have simply not been tested at all.

The Myth of Learning Styles

coverNext comes the Change Magazine Article. The article titled The Myth of Learning Styles was published in the September-October 2010 issue. The article by Cedar Riener and Daniel Willingham begins with one important salient point:
“There is no credible evidence that learning styles exist.”
So here is the punch line: Students differ in their abilities, interests, and background knowledge, but not in their learning styles. Students may have preferences about how to learn, but no evidence suggests that catering to those preferences will lead to better learning.
The article is organized around the following questions.
  • What is a Learning Style?
  • Which Claims of Learning-Styles Theorists are Correct?
  • What Do Learning-Styles Theorists Get Wrong?
  • Why Does the Belief in Learning Styles Persevere?
  • Why Should College Educators Care?

 Learning Styles: Fact and Fiction

The question of Learning Styles comes up frequently among curriculum designers, academic administrators, and faculty and reviews appear fairly regularly.  A Blog post  titled Learning Styles: Fact and Fiction – A Conference Report, from 2011 by Derek Bruff, Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University does an excellent job of framing the issues and articulating the various perspectives.

Howard Gardner setting the record straight: ‘Multiple intelligences’ are not ‘learning styles’

An article in the Washington Post, October 16, 2013 adds another point to the review of Learning Styles. It clarifies the difference between multiple intelligences and learning styles.

 It’s been 30 years since I developed the notion of “multiple intelligences.” I have been gratified by the interest shown in this idea and the ways it’s been used in schools, museums, and businesses around the world. But one unanticipated consequence has driven me to distraction—and that’s the tendency of many people, including persons whom I cherish, to credit me with the notion of ‘learning styles’ or to collapse ‘multiple intelligences’ with ‘learning styles.’ It’s high time to relieve my pain and to set the record straight.
As an educator, I draw three primary lessons for educators:
1.       Individualize your teaching as much as possible. Instead of “one size fits all,” learn as much as you can about each student, and teach each person in ways that they find comfortable and learn effectively. Of course this is easier to accomplish with smaller classes. But ‘apps’ make it possible to individualize for everyone.
2.        Pluralize your teaching. Teach important materials in several ways, not just one (e.g. through stories, works of art, diagrams, role play). In this way you can reach students who learn in different ways. Also, by presenting materials in various ways, you convey what it means to understand something well. If you can only teach in one way, your own understanding is likely to be thin.
3.       Drop the term “styles.” It will confuse others and it won’t help either you or your students.

For the story of how Gardner came up with  Multiple Intelligences : The First Thirty Years, Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The Myth of Learning Styles

As final punctuation to the point I offer Peter DeWitt’s confession.

New Study pinpoints hands not gaze as the object of parents’ and toddlers’ attention

IU cognitive scientists identify new mechanism at heart of early childhood learning and social behavior. Google Glass-like eye-tracking technology pinpoints hands rather than gaze as the object of parents’ and toddlers’ attention

Previous research involving joint visual attention between parents and toddlers has focused exclusively on the ability of each partner to follow the gaze of the other. In “Joint Attention Without Gaze Following: Human Infants and Their Parents Coordinate Visual Attention to Objects Through Eye-Hand Coordination,” published in the online journal PLOS ONE, the researchers demonstrate how hand-eye coordination is much more common, and the parent and toddler interact as equals, rather than one or the other taking the lead.

Early childhood education: Children can tell when a teacher commits “sins of omission.”

Laura Schulz, a primary investigator in the Early Childhood Cognition Lab in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT led a series of studies on building trust in early childhood education. She reports,

Children learn a great deal about the world from their own exploration, but they also rely on what adults tell them. Studies have shown that children can figure out when someone is lying to them, but cognitive scientists from MIT recently tackled a subtler question: Can children tell when adults are telling them the truth, but not the whole truth?

In the most recent explorations

“This shows that children are not just sensitive to who’s right or wrong,” Gweon says. “Children can also evaluate others based on who’s providing information that is enough or not enough for accurate inference. They can also adjust how they learn from a teacher in the future, depending on whether the teacher has previously committed a sin of omission or not.”

Melissa Koenig, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Institute of Childhood Development who was not part of the research team, commented

“The study shows yet another set of criteria that children bring to their evaluation of other speakers, beyond things like accuracy, confidence, or knowledgeability,”

Try, try again? Study says no

MIT reports:

In a new study, a team of neuroscientists and psychologists led by Amy Finn, a postdoc at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, has found evidence for another factor that contributes to adults’ language difficulties: When learning certain elements of language, adults’ more highly developed cognitive skills actually get in the way. The researchers discovered that the harder adults tried to learn an artificial language, the worse they were at deciphering the language’s morphology — the structure and deployment of linguistic units such as root words, suffixes, and prefixes.



Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom

This book by Daniel T. Willingham who earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard University in 1990 and currently is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. A bit more about the author from Amazon “Until 2000, his research focused solely on the brain basis of learning and memory. Today, all of his research concerns the application of cognitive psychology to K-12 education. He writes the “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for American Educator magazine, and is an Associate Editor of Mind, Brain, and Education. He is also the author of Why Don’t Students Like School? (Jossey-Bass) and When Can You Trust the Experts? (Jossey-Bass). His writing on education has been translated into ten languages.”

I am not going to actually publish my review of the book here, today but rather steer you to a review on Amazon written by Ben Babcock. This thoughtful reflection by an individual entering teaching as a profession is a great introduction to Willingham’s book and to the field of cognitive science.